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years ago, I said you were having an affair ... no," he corrected himself, so as to give Alex no room to maneuver. "I knew you were having an affair with my wife."

Lyta managed to pull herself together enough to look at Alex with an utterly professional air. It was one of the most formidable acting jobs she had ever performed in her life. "He was crazy jealous," Alex said as if Leo weren't even sitting there. "Wouldn't listen to reason. We haven't spoken to each other for almost two decades." For a moment, just a moment, regret slipped into his voice, and then he shrugged it off. "Not that that's a bad thing, mind you..."

"You denied the whole thing," snarled Leo. "Made me look like a fool. Sheila left me, and the whole family sided with you." He leaned forward, speaking with a perverse sort of intimacy. "But you and me, Alex, we know the truth, and now before I die, I want everyone else to know. I want to get some satisfaction. So: answer the question, Alex. Were you having an affair with my wife?"

Alex opened his mouth to answer... and then paused. The pause was sufficient to prompt Leo's swelling confidence. Alex was going to bolt, Leo was positive. After all these years, he was going to run from the truth. But instead Alex simply said to Lyta, with mild concern, "This won't hurt, will it?"

She shook her head. "You won't feel a thing."

"Good," he said, looking relieved, "because I had 'his tooth removed a few weeks ago, they said the same thing, but it hurt like^..."

"Were you having an affair with my wife?" Leo fairly bellowed.

There it was: The question that had plagued Leo for two decades, had destroyed his life. The single greatest question of his entire life. And to his annoyance, as if he were brushing off an irritating child asking some insignificant
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